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Paris: God Has Given Me "New Chance"

Paris Hilton's booking photo, c/o L.A. Co. Sheriffs Department
L.A. Co. Sheriffs Department
In her first interview behind bars, Paris Hilton says that God has given her a "new chance" and that her ordeal has inspired her to make a difference when she is released later this month.

On Sunday, Hilton made a collect call to Barbara Walters and discussed her state of mind and how jail has changed her. On Monday, Walters read quotes from her discussion with Hilton on ABC's "The View."

"I used to act dumb. It was an act, and that act is no longer cute," she told Walters. "It is not who I am, nor do I want to be that person for the young girls who looked up to me. I'm 26 years old now and it is a different time. I have become much more spiritual. God has given me this new chance."

Hilton said before she was released from jail to home confinement, she was not wailing, sobbing or screaming as it had been reported by the media. "I was not eating or sleeping. I was severely depressed and felt as if I was in a cage ... I was not myself. It was a horrible experience," she said.


Photos: Paris Hilton's Hideaway
Hilton told Walters that she was not taking antidepressants. "I'm not the same person I was … I want to do different things when I'm out of here," she said.

Walters said Hilton would like to help in the field of breast cancer or multiple sclerosis, or she might get toy companies to build a Paris Hilton playhouse for children, where sick children might come and the toy companies could donate toys.

Hilton said she has a spiritual adviser who told her "my spirit or soul did not like the way I was being seen. And that is why I was sent to jail. God has released me."

Hilton said she has been passing the time reading The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, the Bible and other books. She said she is in a room alone and when she is not in her room she can play ping-pong.

"I feel my purpose in life is to be where I am, however, usually with a situation like mine the person serves 10 percent of their time. I have already served 30 percent of my time," she told Walters. "And I hope that if there is overcrowding in jail I would be let out before someone with a much more serious crime."


Interactive: Dress Paris For Jail

The jailhouse call came about because Kathy Hilton, Paris' mother, phoned Walters. During the conversation, Paris rang in on another line.

Paris said she wanted to speak to Walters herself and called the TV host collect. Walters said Hilton sounded tired but seemed totally aware of what she was saying.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Hilton said she told her attorneys not to appeal the judge's decision to send her back to jail. This time she is in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angles. She was originally in the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood, Calif.

Hilton said being in jail is by far the hardest thing she's ever done, then added, "I believe I'm learning and growing from this experience."

Many are wondering what's behind Hilton's decision. Is it a public relations ploy or is it is based on legal advice from her attorneys? Editor-at-Large of Life & Style Weekly Ashlan Gorse said it might be both.

"People love to hate Paris Hilton, and she really needs to save face," she told Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm. "The best thing she could have done is stay in jail, stay her time out and get some street cred for serving her time. Once the lawyers looked and realized they weren't going to win, it was better they just pulled the appeal off the table — and she's just making it look like it was her decision to stay in jail and finish out her sentence."

In her press release, Hilton suggested that the public may see a different Paris after she serves her time in jail, but Gorse isn't sure if Hilton can stay out of the limelight for long.

"She loves paparazzi and they love her,' Gorse said. "We might see a different Paris come out that's a little more responsible. But truth is, she's a pretty savvy businesswoman, so she knows why she's famous and she knows how to work that angle. I have a feeling she'll come out and be a little more responsible — but she's never going to leave the party life behind."

Although she is famous for loving media attention, in her statement, Hilton said the news media should be paying less attention to her problems and focus on the important stories like the war in Iraq. Her sister Nicky said the media frenzy surrounding her sister is "absolutely absurd," but Gorse doubt's Hilton's sincerity.


Photos: Paris In Stripes
"It was a well-written press release, but that's what it was — a press release," she said.

On Sunday, visitors at the jail were upset because they had to wait four hours to see their loved ones, while Nicky Hilton and Stavros Niarchos were ushered in within 15 minutes, raising more questions about preferential treatment. But Gorse said the jail didn't have much of a choice but to usher the pair in quickly in order to keep the paparazzi at bay.

2"The fact is, she's in custody, she's in jail, she's alone, she's gonna complete the time," CBS News legal analyst Trent Copeland said. "I think the reality is that, you know, Paris Hilton now, I think we can put to rest this whole idea as to whether or not Paris Hilton received preferential treatment."

In fact, the L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, who defied the judge and let Hilton out of jail early, only to have the judge send her back, suggests the celebutante got harsher treatment than others would.

"I have to take care of this woman," he said. "She's not getting much help from anyone else."

For the star of the reality-TV show, "The Simple Life," her reality has grown complicated. In fact, her case has exposed a real issue about who — the judge or the sheriff — has the ultimate authority to determine when an inmate can be released. Then there's the question Hollywood is asking: Have the tides and the public turned on celebrities?

"Now we're seeing Paris Hilton, maybe Lindsay Lohan, maybe even Phil Spector — celebrities who are probably going to get hit with the book," Copeland said.

Meanwhile, there have also been reports that Hilton didn't eat or drink for three days because she was worried that guards would take her photo while she was on the toilet.

"It's ridiculous," Gorse said. "Granted, I'm sure that picture would be worth a lot, but somebody's job would be on the line. I think these people are respectful, and I think she's OK if she wants to use the ladies' room."